I just answered this question How do I split a wrapped numeric list into several lines? .

Should I lorem Ipsum the text?
The answer is just as valid with a dummy text as with the on in the question.

My reason for doing this would be to avoid attracting the attention of religious inclined trolls.

Possible scenario:
Someone sees a religious text, and either vandalizes it or asks another question with some text from a competing religion... or any other multitude of disruptive behavior.

  • 9
    If people can't handle religious text excerpts that clearly are only used to provide an example for an on-topic problem the user faces, then that's their problem.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Nov 8, 2011 at 20:00
  • I support the edits on that post though. While we shouldn't remove references to religions or beliefs just because they are religious; we shouldn't protect them either. Editing the question title made it more broadly applicable, so it was changed. If a post can be improved by changing or removing a reference to religion, we shouldn't hesitate to do that. In other words, just don't treat it different from any other text in a similar situation (e.g. used as example in a question or answer).
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Nov 8, 2011 at 20:16
  • @Nifle - What trolls? So far the only excited person about it is you. Don't make a big deal out of things that aren't worth it.
    – Rook
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 19:47
  • 2
    @ldigas- If you don't have any experience with religious trolls you have frequented a nicer part of the web than I have. Besides I don't think asking one question can be described as being "excited".
    – Nifle
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 22:10
  • Why would religious text attract trolls any more than any other text?
    – Moab
    Commented Sep 27, 2015 at 16:45

4 Answers 4


I think it's best to leave it as is, unless it has more intention than being an example text.

Religiously inclined trolls should just be dealt with, we don't want this kind of people so it's better for us that we catch them by a simple suggested edit rather than that they enter a heated discussion at a later point. You have to take action on the offender, not on the victim of disruptive actions.

If you do edit away religious text, it could result in a negative experience for the author of the post...

I have digged through Meta.SO, here is some relevant stuff:

  • Religious text in a post doesn't necessarily make it hate speech... Meta.SO: What is hate speech?

  • Salutations and Thank statements, though, should be handled no different... Meta.SO: #1, #2.

  • The religious Stack Exchange sites are more likely affected than a SU post... Meta.SO: Example.

But as far as I can see, apparently nobody seemed to have discussed including religious text before.

  • 6
    This is almost exactly what I was saying. I don't think we should give people the "We don't tolerate your religion!" experience (even if it wasn't intended).
    – slhck
    Commented Nov 8, 2011 at 19:16
  • 1
    @slhck: Yeah, your answer showed up in the midst of typing mine. +1 Commented Nov 8, 2011 at 19:27
  • @slhck: I generally agree with you (+1), but I'm concerned about where the line should be drawn. For a non-religious example with dress code, co-workers obviously won't tolerate a nudist who insists on coming to work completely nude, but a certain type of clothing may or may not be tolerable to others -- is it okay to wear a swimsuit to work during summer? What about during winter? What if it's a two-piece string bikini? At least some people may be deeply offended, for a variety of reasons. If a line must be drawn, figuring out where to draw it is the most difficult aspect of this issue. Commented Nov 8, 2011 at 23:30
  • 1
    @Randolf You're right, there's a small line, but wrt. your example: If that were something a lot of people found offensive, somebody would have said something – or we would even see trolling, hate speech, etc. In the case of the OP, I think they had a legitimate problem (after all, the verses are numbered). The point for me here is that I don't want to step on somebody's toes just because somebody might theoretically feel offended. After all, you could also say stuff like "I just got my Mac, I love it, it's really great, but … " should be edited out because it could feed PC vs. Mac trolls.
    – slhck
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 8:21
  • 2
    @slhck: ...and therein lies the problem. I already upvoted your answer because I agree with acting on something when it comes up. However, there is also something to be said for encouraging people not to push their morals on others as seems to be common with people who hold extreme viewpoints on religious matters (and purposely mix their doctrine in to every communication with the intention of trying to convert the world, and such nonsense). There are forums (and newsgroups, etc.) that are suited for religious discussion, and the espousing of religious views is definitely a misfit for S.U. Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 17:21
  • @slhck: I think your example about Mac enthusiasm is an excellent one that demonstrates over-hype (which detracts from the quality of S.U.), which is very different from someone suggesting a solution to a problem and qualifying their reason for recommending it (e.g., "this product works well for me because it doesn't consume massive amounts of system resources, and it finishes its tasks quickly without prompting the user to make a lot of complicated decisions"). Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 17:26
  • 1
    @Randolf Yes, in general, you are absolutely right, and I would for example probably remove unnecessary content from a post when editing (such as the example I gave). It's a really tough call, but we'd of course expect people not to push their morals, that is true. It's just that in this particular case I'm fine with it – the OP probably just didn't think of it.
    – slhck
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 17:48
  • @slhck: That's the "tough call" factor, for sure (and I'm not too worried about it in this particular case either). If something does seem tricky to judge though, I find it's sometimes useful to consider an opposite-hypothetical of if the example text used was based on, say, for this situation, some texts from an outspoken evil cult that worships some destructive devil deity. In this particular case, it would probably still not be a problem for me, but I suspect that there would be a lot more objection about the content given the general popularity of non-evil-focused religions. Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 17:59

Someone sees a religious text, and either vandalizes it or asks another question with some text from a competing religion... or any other multitude of disruptive behavior.

Might be, but if that happens, we should act on this, not on the original post.

If the question you linked to happens to contain religious text, so be it. I don't see how that would be offending. In fact, I would find it offensive if I posted that question in good faith (scnr), and then somebody edited the verses out. Think about it, do we want to come off as intolerant ourselves? Can't you answer the question as-is? Does it really need editing?

I don't see a particular problem with it. It's not even like the user wants to send a message through this. They have a real and honest use case.

In this case we should really act on the real vandalism and trolling (if it's ever happening), and not blame the user for writing something 2.2 billion people claim to adhere to.

  • 3
    That all being said, this is just what I personally think, and if you want to edit the question, feel free to do so – if the OP disagrees, we might need further discussion though.
    – slhck
    Commented Nov 8, 2011 at 19:14

I'd also note in this specific scenario, the fact that it was a exerpt from a religious text, and the specific layout was essential in the answer. If we edit it, we'd detract from the value of the answer as a whole (without very careful selection of a text that uses the same or similar layout) - and as such it would detract from being useful.

If the intent is to give an example, and it happens that the real world example is from the bible, koran, bhagavad gita, the principa discordia or K&R, it ought to be fine. If its used in a manner as to intentionally cause offence, then they ought to be treated the same way any troll would be. Its just a text the person asking the question happens to need to work with to solve a real world problem.

  • -1 for the Principia Discordia! Fnord!
    – slhck
    Commented Nov 10, 2011 at 7:13

Since religion, and also atheism and agnosticism, are touchy issues for many people, I suggest using a neutral approach that doesn't involve any of these viewpoints wherever possible.

Diplomacy is consistent with using a professional approach. Most corporate work environments don't showcase religious artifacts, and don't have religious emphasis in policies, because the resulting controversy could turn out badly for morale and customer relations.

  • 4
    We don't need to imitate every moronic corporate policy designed to avoid conflict at all costs, just because some people enjoy getting upset for no good reason. We won't start removing the dozens of references to Christmas on this site either. Also, this is the one trilogy site without referencing professional at the top of the FAQ – if there's no need for removing harmless content on the other sites, intended for more professional audiences by their very topics, I don't see why we should need it here.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Nov 8, 2011 at 20:09
  • 1
    @Daniel Beck: I wasn't suggesting imitating corporate policies (I don't see how "moronic" applies), rather I mentioned corporate policies as an example where this approach is used successfully since religious views are not relevant in most work environments. I certainly wasn't suggesting the removal of references to national/seasonal holidays (it's not clear to me how you came to this conclusion). The value of not dragging religious views into technical matters about computers is in having a message that's better focused. Your response serves as an example of how touchy this matter is. Commented Nov 8, 2011 at 22:28
  • In that case I seem to have misunderstood you. If you're not suggesting to get rid of references to beliefs to be "neutral", what are you suggesting? You don't provide concrete information except a neutral, diplomatic, professional approach, whatever that is in this case. // you will see more level-headed comments on the question; it's just that i really didn't like your "big corp" approach, as I see nothing but madness if we adopt it for this site.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 7:00
  • 1
    Also, for me the touchy subject is censorship and editing others' posts for no good reason.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 7:07

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